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Survey: Majority of retail workers in Finland face abuse from customers

Retail workers in Finland say they are often confronted by inappropriate behaviour, including name-calling, from customers.

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File photo. Image: Yle

A new survey commissioned by the lobbyist group Finnish Commerce Federation finds that retail workers regularly face bullying, yelling and being called derogatory names by the customers they serve.

A number of employers and unions have started a campaign, roughly translated to "kindly treated," in efforts to improve the apparently-deteriorating relationship between retail workers and customers.

The campaign aims to show retail customers how customer service and retail workers are treated.

A number of surveys carried out over the autumn appear to show a worsening in relations between customers and the workers who are paid to serve them.

The Commerce Federation's survey found that 63 percent of retail worker respondents said it is increasingly common to be insulted or called derogatory names by customers.

Nearly one-third of surveyed customers said they have noticed other customers acting inappropriately, mostly in retail shops.

Worker groups, employers taking action

Employers and unions say they are taking the retail workers' problems seriously. The Commerce Federation's employment market director Anna Lavikkala said it is an issue of work safety.

A survey sent to trade union members at Service Union United PAM similarly found that verbal abuse against retail workers was on the rise.

Nine percent of respondents to the PAM survey said that they receive verbal abuse from customers on a weekly basis.

A survey commissioned last year by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment found that it is not only retail workers who face abuse from members of the public.

In that survey some 33 percent of salary-earning workers in general said they'd experienced some form of bullying or verbal abuse from clients or customers they served.

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